by Melissa Davis, managing director, MD Communications, www.mdcomms.co.uk

In every sector, digital is becoming the front line for successful marketing campaigns, from law and finance through to fashion and music. With experts predicting that in 2013 the term ‘digital marketing’ will simply become ‘marketing’ – so important will the digital channels have become – there’s no escape from this inevitable forward march of technology, no matter how much we might want to turn back the clock. However, whilst this might seem to open up a crevice of a knowledge gap, and a whole heap of extra work and expense involved in getting to grips with the new methods, digital marketing is actually poised to make everyone’s lives easier. All you really have to do is know what’s ahead…

The content economy is going to be one of the driving forces for successful digital marketing in 2013, with Google making a concerted effort to punish those who are recycling old content or making a lacklustre effort with their websites, and to reward a constant supply of originality. One of the easiest ways to ensure a high ranking for a website going forward will be to populate it with constantly updated, compelling, relevant content, whether that’s blogs, news articles, or an embedded YouTube channel. If you aren’t convinced that high quality content is the key then look at names such as Coca Cola and Facebook, who have considerably upped their game in terms of the amount of new content that passes through their websites, compared to two years ago.

Social sharing is another major trend that has already hit considerable heights – Twitter, for example, already has enough followers to populate its own country. However, in 2013 the landscape has changed and a presence on Facebook and Twitter isn’t enough. Sites like Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr are where the real ‘marketing via sharing’ opportunities lie, particular given the tie ups between them (you can post Instagram photos directly to Twitter, for example), and we can expect new technology such as Vine – where the user has a Vine app that records several seconds of video footage and posts straight to that user’s profile online – to mushroom.

Whilst social sharing is a concept many of us have already got our heads around, this year the main consideration is to facilitate mobile social sharing (aka smobile). The ability to share and interact instantly on the move will be the holy grail for those looking to achieve results from their marketing and will create the expectation of an on demand business environment that some may struggle to keep up with. Key to this 2013 trend will be a mobile interface for a business, whether that’s the development of a smart phone app, or a website that is compatible with a smart phone screen. A factor in the huge growth in mobile everything this year is going to be the arrival of 4G in the summer. Six UK mobile networks are delivering their 4G service six months earlier than expected in an effort to attract the most enthusiastic customers and the hype is already beginning to build. When 4G arrives it will mean that internet access via a smart phone becomes super fast – 3G will be enormously outdated and slow by comparison.

Whether you’re already keeping pace with digital marketing and want to stay ahead of the next big thing, or you’re struggling to decide where to start first, an awareness of what’s going on in the digital world is going to be even more crucial to successful marketing in 2013.  If you can master the content economy, social sharing and the demand for a mobile interface this year then you will be streets ahead of the rest.